Name: Franz Aliquo
Age: 36Hometown: New York, NY
Current town: Queens, NY
Job description: Event producer; advertising executive; former securities litigation lawyer
Bio: Co-founder of StreetWars, a local assassination game based worldwide (a.k.a. “Supreme Commander”); hosted “flavor tripping” berry tasting parties; law graduate of Fordham University
Upcoming projects: Guns ‘N Chicken, a project enacting revenge upon pop culture icons, with high-powered weapons and fried chicken; Roman-style party with gladiator battles; 666 satanic burger truck
Select links: "The Miracle Fruit, A Tease for the Taste Buds" (NY Times); "StreetWars Founder Warns Players Will Stop At Nothing to Squirt" (NY Mag)
Describe your current state of mind.
Overwhelming. Confused. And I say that just because I realized that this stuff that I do could fall under the category of art in some way. The confusion is trying to figure out the common strength between all of my projects. That’s really been something that’s taken up a lot of mindset, figuring out what that hell I am on.
I found this recipe online and it's for black chicken soup.
The chickens themselves - skin, bones and meat - are all black, and the Chinese joint right by my work sells the black chickens. I thought: "I have to make black chicken soup and see what's up." Because it's like the death metalist of all soups.
I get lost in supermarkets. I literally spend 45 minutes just wandering through there and I'm like: “Oh, I'd like to eat that, too!" Peas, bok choys, and I bought kimchi. Why not!
Nice. You live in Long Island City but you work in Chinatown.
I live in Long Island City but I work in Chinatown, the last remaining block of Little Italy. You’re not finding black chickens in Long Island City.
You said you work in advertising?
What’s that like?
I came from working as a lawyer. It’s completely different and a more awesome world. I hear people complain about it, that have been in the business for a while, and for me it's kind of like: “You’ve never been a lawyer! That's why you hate this crap.” That said, clients are always what people make them out to be - thick-skulled and not willing to take chances, so that's frustrating in some ways. Coming from the legal world, you had no creativity and you weren't really creating anything that was worthwhile at all. I wasn't even a good-doing lawyer; I was doing securities litigation.
Define securities litigation.
It’s about stock tradings and options and IPOs and crap like that. We mostly did securities fraud, so if somebody lost a bunch of their money because they invested in a company that did some shady financial stuff, we would sue the company to try to get homeboy his money back, or as much as we could. But it was all these giant corporate structure things. In essence, you’re a tiny cog in this giant structure that they’re creating. It’s not even that interesting.
So why did you choose securities litigation?
I got into that because I graduated from normal college with a double major in philosophy and sociology, and a minor in psychology. I decided that I didn’t want to be unemployed so I was like: “Philosophy and law are kind of the same because you’re talking about ideas, and there’s this whole method of figuring out logic…”
law is nothing at all like philosophy, but I didn’t realize that until one year into law school, really. So then I’m already however many thousands of dollars in debt from law school. I’m not going to drop out at that point, so it’s like, fuck it, I’ll just go through with it, get a law job and save money.
That’s what I did. A lot of my friends went lawyering. They started making lawyer money, got their fancy apartments and so forth. On the other hand, I moved to the ghetto, like literally across the street from the Queensbridge projects, paying like $700 a month in rent, and chasing crackheads out of my stairwell with a baseball bat on the regular. There were business dudes that would come to my stairwell and have sex with the crack whores. I would walk in on them having sex every once in a while. Which was hilarious, because some of them would stop and some of them wouldn’t. The one line I always busted out on the dudes was: “I hope you’re wearing a condom.”
I didn’t check. I didn’t stay that long.
But isn’t there a link between law and philosophy? Don’t they use the Socratic Method in law school?
If you stay in an academic field, then you’re kind of in philosophy. When you get down to the practice though, not so much. Also, the thing that really kills me the most about it is that when I was working as a lawyer, the people sucked. I got called into the Dean’s office and he had a big file on me because I had run for the Student Bar Association Presidency in law school at Fordham University. They’re a Jesuit-backed school [and] I ran a Satanic-themed campaign.
They were very angry, and I ended up winning the election but they removed me post-election from the running. They barred me from doing it, so like No. 2 person ended up taking my spot and I got reamed out by the Dean.
Well, that sounds unfair.
Yeah, but my point being is that lawyers are generally douchebags. There are a few good ones, not to generalize. I realized in that field, going into networking events and all that other shit, there was only so far you’d be able to get because I had nothing in common with these people. It’s like being on the Jersey Shore and being forced to hang out with those cats all the time.
How did you get into advertising?
While I was working as a lawyer, in order to prevent myself from suicide, I started doing stuff. I was one of the co-founders of the Brooklyn Kickball League. Then I came up with StreetWars, the water gun assassination tournament that I do, and all the crap that I was doing, and started getting a bunch of press. Then I put out a small food ‘zine. I finally got to the point where I was either going to stay a lawyer - and make a decent amount of money and be miserable with my life - or, put my balls on the table, take a huge pay cut, and see if I can do something in this other field. After I was getting [placement], brands would randomly call and say: "Hey, can you do something for us?”
I started by working for Thrillist. Which was an interesting experience. And I’m being kind. But it was my first stint outside of law. I worked like an animal. I gained a billion pounds, and aged like at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie when they open the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments, and everybody’s face melts off; that was me at Thrillist. It was horrible. And then a friend of mine who owns this company that I work for now, got a big Pepsi account and she hollered at me: "Hey, have you decided to continue lawyering or are you interested in maybe coming here?” I was like: “I’m willing to do this, but I wanna still be allowed as much leeway as I need to continue developing my own personal projects.” And they’re cool with that. And now I get to have a machete at my desk.
Hell the fuck yeah. I have a giant machete at my desk and I’m allowed to go around waving it around in the office or holding it during meetings.
The one I have in my office is my first machete.
Your starter machete.
My starter machete. I bought it while I was up extremely late at night. I was watching Public Access-y type channels, and there was one of those drunks [saying:] “Look! There are 700 swords, and 50 knives, and you can have them all for $50, delivered to your house!” And I was like: “Oh, that sounds like a pretty fuckin’ good deal. I’d be stupid to pass that up.” So I paid the guy like a $100 or whatever and got a giant, ridiculous box full of knives - including this machete that I held onto.
So machetes are not expensive.
The one I have at the office is my “shitty machete.” Since then, I’ve had these guys out in Wisconsin or Iowa. I had them make me my own machetes.
That’s my “thinking machete.”
Is it possible to keep something nice at the office?
And not have it stolen?
If it’s a machete, yes, because people are scared of me, kind of.
Yeah, not in the “Oh my God, is he going to go postal and kill people?” [way], but in a “He’s really weird and [we] can’t predict what he’s going to do. So let’s not fuck with his shit.” Which is good.
Are you familiar with the Illuminati?
What I know I can’t say…
My company is called the Shadow Government.
Tell me about the origins of StreetWars.
There were a shit ton of reasons. I was spending all my time at home watching TV and after doing that for years, I [understood that I] was watching people do awesome things instead of doing awesome things myself.
Growing up in New York City, this city was a freakin’ playground. There were abandoned buildings you would get into. There were shitty areas that your mom would be like: “Don’t ever ever go there.” Of course you had to explore them.
I’m living in one of the most amazing cities in the world and I wasn’t utilizing it to its fullest potential. It was honestly for myself. It was the biggest selfish endeavor. I found ways to get myself out into the city more. After having watched tons of action movies, I was like: “Dude, if I could make it so I could live in an action movie that would be sweet. People would hunt me all the time.” So I wanted to make it a very small game. I played a similar game in high school except it was confined to school grounds. But if I used the entire city as a playing field, then it could become a shit ton more interesting. If I have to hunt people, I’m not hunting my friends so it’ll force me to go to new places. When I’m walking around, I’ll notice more things: Where are the fucking escape routes?
StreetWars initially came about as a small 20-person game so I could play. What ended up happening, just through word of mouth, is the first game had 80 some-odd people playing. I was like: “Fuck, now I can’t play. I have to organize the shit for everyone else.” And then I came up with my character, the Supreme Commander, because I was still allowed to be involved somehow. At the end of the game, when everybody’s left, they’re hunting me. So like I get my kicks out of it. It’s like a video game you fight through. You slug through the normal battles.
How did you and Mustache Commander meet?
There are two stories. One was I had a spiritual crisis and I decided to hike by myself through the Himalayas. I got caught in a snow blizzard and almost died, literally. There was some sort of fucking valley and I saw this smoke shit, so I headed out towards there, and the Mustache Commander – in his full glory - was out there, in the middle, by this house, naked - except for a loin cloth. He nursed me back to health and that’s where our friendship began.
Or: I went to high school with him. We met in Homeroom and we were both super nerds.
How have things evolved over the years?
The first time we did it, I charged people $5 and I cut almost everything out by hand. It wasn’t even a spread sheet. Jesus Christ, that was literally a list of people in the kill order. People would call me on my cell phone and be like: “Yo, I just killed so and so.” I’d cross the name off then figure out who the next person was, go to my emails, pull all the info and send it to the next person. So that was the first game.
Since then, I’ve obviously gotten a lot more technological about it. It’s automated. The really fun stuff is how I’ve learned how people interact with each other, and what motivates them more or less to dissipate or become more involved. I’ve learned how to create situations that force people to take action. I think that when people initially played the game, it was whatever like: “Dude, this is new. This is crazy. I’ll try this.” But now, the game is more of a learning experience when people play it - instead of painful and super niche, you know?
It’s more accessible to people.
It’s a little bit more accessible to people, and I think the way it's planned out...the first time I had people meet me I was dressed in my lawyers suit and I had the normal briefcase and I gave them the package that they needed. Now, I try to set it up like the first five minutes of an action movie.
You go to an action movie. In the first five minutes, you’re guaranteed there's going to be some explosions, ideally some boobs, awesome shit's going to happen, you're going to be like: “I'm fucking pumped. I can't wait for the rest of this movie.”
It’s all about balancing expectations. We tell people: “Go to a bar and one of our guys will meet you there, and give you your shit.” When they get there, guy’s like: “It’s not actually here, you have to go to a second location." That I usually dress up nice to be very spy-ish and scary for people where it's more of an experience. Then they meet Supreme and Moustache Commander, who are usually the way you'd imagine Joe Pesci to be: loud; drunk; and violent, but in that kind of funny way.
I think that's always the kind of edge that's careful. Once again, learning about the players, when we went too serious and were like: "This is James Bond-style type shit," people got into more arguments. When they're killing each other and playing the game, there's a lot more roughness. Then we realized the more light-hearted we kept it, in our characters and how we dealt with them, the more people themselves kept the game very light-hearted - instead of shooting each other and being like: “Give me your card. You’re out,” they'd be like: “Yo, let's go grab a drink and hang out a little bit. Let's share stories." It became a lot more of a social game. That made me really happy because that was one of the things I wanted the game to do.
How far have people gone to win?
I'll tell you a couple stories because they're all kind of amusing. In London, we had two girls that were hunting their target. They couldn't find any information on this dude and they decided to Google his email address. Through that Googling of the email address, they found a secondary email address he had. So they Googled that email address and they found out that this man was the 2007 Best Male Prostitute in London award winner. So they posed as a lesbian couple that was celebrating their third anniversary, and they wanted to have a threesome with him.
They set up an appointment with him at a restaurant, to get to know each other before the sex. During the meal, one of the girls excuses herself, goes to the bathroom and she - friggin' Godfather-style - had hidden a water gun behind the toilet. When she came out, she shot the dude in the back of the head. He was all bugged out, completely blown away by that. They spent the rest of the night drinking and then they both had sex with him for free.
How do you know about that?
They told me. [With] every kill that gets made, the players have to supply us with a kill story.
How do you know it was true?
Because I talked to the dude afterwards and I looked up his profile on the man whore website. He's seven inches, uncut. So it was legit-legit.
Let’s put it this way: I have a lot of pictures that can put a lot of people in a lot of compromising situations.
If only you were a lawyer now.
I know. That's the great thing about it. During the game I told people that the Shadow Government accepts bribes. I would not accept money, but will accept bribes. Depending how awesome your bribe is, you'll get information or whatever equaling what we get.
We get interesting pictures from people; it's one of the most common bribes.
Oh, right! More death stories.
This one was pretty sweet, too. It didn't even end in a kill, but it was a really great story.
It was when I was going to have it in, I think. 2006 New York game. I got into a 45-minute, three-borough car chase. We were breaking all sorts of laws and should have died a few times because of going down one-way streets, blowing red lights, and the dude that was following us at the time, was keeping up with us - neck to fucking neck. I was thinking: "What the fuck is going on?" Turns out, the guy that was driving the car used to be in Iraq, and his job was driving generals around through war zones. So knew what was up. Anyway, after three boroughs, we thought we lost him at one point. We went back to my place because I felt like it was time to go home.
It was 2 in the morning and they were just parked out front of our place, so more car chase. We ended up at a construction site in Queens, running our cars at about 20-30 miles an hour. It was raining and there were these cranes.
There was no way to get rid of these people behind us. I wanted to get home so I decided to just jump out of the car. I jumped out of the car at 20 miles an hour, into the mud. As we were making a turn, they couldn't see me jump out. I ended up hiding underneath one of the cranes, for about 20 minutes and then trudging my way back home, caked from head to toe in mud. So that was fun.
I got chased through the catacombs in Paris by a bunch of people at one point. Near the museum, which is called the Louvre, there is a park with a bunch of hedges, really tall kind of maze-type hedges. Towards the end of the game, [while] everybody was hunting, I told people I was going to go to the Louvre and that I might be hanging out in this park. I was a tourist [who] ended up in the park late at night, going through these maze-like things, and I realized that the hedges had burrow holes so that you could get inside the hedge and be surrounded in this kind of encased greenery. I thought: “This is amazing!” So I'm there with a bunch of my bodyguards. We're trolling through that area and there are random dudes hanging out in the maze by themselves, and they weren't players. So I'm thinking: "What the fuck?" Guys come through, nobody kills me, I end up leaving. I'm talking to this French journalist afterwards. I told him about hanging out in these bushes, and he said: "Oh, my God! You were not!" I said: "Yeah, I went underneath in the little holes."
“Dude! That's a gay prostitute, trolling site. That's what the dudes, that were hanging out randomly in the hedges, were: male prostitutes. And they go inside the bushes to have sex with other people."
So I was hanging out in the sex lane, which was sweet.
We have had people who have gone through rooftop foot chases where they literally jump across buildings – which was not awesome.
Have you ever been concerned about liability?
Yes, which is why I have people sign a written we-get-your-children-and-you-can't-sue-us-for-anything waiver before they play. Also, I feel like the people that play this game are smart enough that they're not going to do stuff that's too dumb. Like the rooftop chase. The people that did it ended because the dude that was doing the chasing got to a gap that he couldn't jump, and the dude that he was chasing was in better shape.
Has anyone ever cheated?
Yes, we've had really just one cheater.
Just one. There may have been others we didn't know about. But who cares? Every city plays the game differently.
San Francisco Cheater gave us the wrong information. It took a couple days for the person who was hunting him to figure out it was false info. A lot of people that play the game end up becoming friends-ish, at the very least. They are very involved in the game and I can ask them for favors. They all have interesting jobs. One had a job that allowed us to find this guy’s actual address and car license plate - the whole nine.
What we did then was post this on the front page of our website, and told people for a week, if they drenched him from head to toe, we would give them a bottle of Jack Daniels. After the second day, the guy called us pretty much begging, pleading for us to take it down because he had gotten soaked at home and at work four times during those two days. So I let it go for another day after that. But since then, we've had no cheaters.
My philosophy is the customer is generally wrong. Supreme Commander: the beauty of having that character is he is a big time mob boss. He's a little crazy because he's done a little bit too many drugs, you know what I mean? Completely unpredictable. He hates working. So when people interact with me, they interact with that person. They are very wary about asking me for favors, or to do any extra work, or to treat them with respect. Which is fantastic because it's part of the game. It's like: “Fuck you, stop bothering me. Either give me some liquor or get out of my face. I'm too busy to do your goddamn work.” And people will be like: “Oh man, I'm so sorry. Here's a bottle of Jack Daniels. Can You look this up for me?” And I’m like: “Oh, okay. I will now.”
How do the different cities play?
New York, as I'm sure people will be proud to hear, is the thuggest of all cities: “I’m a hide on your fucking roof for seven hours, drink and get wasted as shit and then destroy you the second you come out, or just hang out in a garbage can in front of your house and jack you.” New York is straight thug. They will go on fucking foot chases. They will shoot your boss. They will not give a fuck.
Londoners are a lot sneakier. They like playing with their prey. They enjoy getting people through social network - as opposed to straight thuggery. They will find out where you hang out with your friends by becoming friends with one of your friends on Facebook, or going to message boards you frequent. Londoners love setting up traps.
Los Angelenos like fucking with your job. They are ruthless. They will set up fake interviews all the time for you. They will give you a taste of what Los Angles has to offer: “Look, you've been invited to a movie premiere.” Or: “You're an actor. We have a movie audition for you.”
Parisians are unimaginative and squirrely-ass motherfuckers.
Chicago is a little thug. Chicago is half-way between New York and San Fransisco.
San Fransisco is whiny. This is surprising for San Francisco: they're also extremely mean. They’ll wait for the worst possible time, and kill you then. It’s like maximum humiliation.
Like being on a date with someone?
Yes! Like being on a date or a business dinner.
Both Los Angeles and San Fran are probably the ones where we have the most date kills. A girl player would find out where her target hung out, end up at the same bar as him and flirt flirt, flirt. And when the dude thinks he's getting lucky, he gets jacked. There was one girl in the Los Angeles game - her and her boyfriend were playing - and she went to a bar where her boyfriend’s target was, drank, flirted with him, invited this dude back to her boyfriend's place [and] started giving him a hand job. Her boyfriend was down with this whole thing, which is even more insane. But her boyfriend walked in while this dude was on the couch getting a hand job from his girlfriend, shot in the back of the head, and end of hand job, just like: “You’re dead. What’s up, Dick?”
Singapore was probably the most honorable and awesome city we did the game in.
Everybody was really friendly and straight up with their information and with each other. There were not a lot of arguments amongst people - which kind of surprised me. Made me sad because we had to cancel it. We couldn't finish the game.
Because the Singaporean government took a disliking to us: “You’ll have to cancel the game or we're going to fine you like a billion dollars and cane you.” I was like: “Fuck all y’all. I'm in New York City. You can't touch me, like MC Hammer.”
“That’s cool. We'll just try you in absentia, and then, if you ever come to Singapore, we'll cane the fuck out of you.”
I've never been to Singapore, and I know their food is apparently super duper amazing. I love eating and would like to go to Singapore eventually, so I was like: “All right.” Two and a half weeks into the game, we had to cancel it.
Yeah, it does. But after I go to Singapore, I'm doing another game there in.
That’s how you do it. You just can’t go back for seconds.
“Been there. Done that. Fuck you.”
Tell me about your vacation to Rio.
Normal. Regular. Just me traveling to Rio. Rio was super awesome. Hold on a sec. [Reading text message] This is Rio info that's coming through from my friend that lives there now. Not that awesome. She just moved so she could write about the sex industry there. She ended up becoming friends with this white rapper named Don Blanquito, who's blowing up in Rio. But he's from the States. He doesn't really speak Portuguese very well, but for some reason, everybody loves him, and he's been handing out his own brand of flavored condoms. And that’s what’s really blown him up there.
But my own travel to Rio was the opposite of what I expected.
My expectations of going to Rio de Janeiro wwas that it was going to be filled with beautiful people that were partying all the time, and the place was going to be a 24/7 party with the most amazing food ever.
Those people in Rio are not partying 24/7. They are not the best looking people on earth. It was so completely different in that expectation. It was really striking, the kind of dichotomy of the city. It seemed like there were really two cities there. There was the regular rich people and there were the favelas, and they work in completely separate economies.
When I was going down there everyone said: “Whatever you do, do not walk around at night. Don’t leave your hotel at night. You are going to get mugged. Don't even think of walking into a favela because you’re going to get killed and murdered and raped.”
My number one thing I love doing in a city is walking around. I hate taking public transportation in a new city because I like exploring. It's the thing I fucking got out of StreetWars, I love exploring the nooks and crannies of everything. I spent most of my time walking around Rio at night. I was with my girlfriend at the time. We walked into favelas. We saw dudes with AKs guarding giant bags of cocaine, didn't get mugged once, didn't get bothered. It was a really awesome city and I want to go back there.
This was part of the reason why we took StreetWars international. In every city, we've been able to do it because its local people playing. We get an “in” to that city that you wouldn't have as a tourist. So when I went to Paris, for example, I got into the underground catacomb parties.
Rio was closer to a tourist experience because I didn’t have somebody local to show me what the dope shit was. I got tour books. I got the Internet. But I didn’t have a physical person there. So that's one of the things I’m really looking forward to, to go visit my friend there. I can actually see what the city is actually like. I think that’s true in a lot of cities. There is the tourist city and there is the real city. That's also why I really hate fancy hotels and restaurants. Because every fucking city you go to, those are exactly the same.
What the hell are you exploring a new city for if you’re going to stay in a place where you know exactly what to expect?
So where did you grow up?
Roosevelt Island, the small island between Manhattan and Queens.
What were you like as a kid?
I was really weird. This is one of my favorite “getting beat up” memories. He thought I said something to him during one of our classes. I was going out to do a presentation. After school, he decided he wanted to beat me up. I was hanging in front of the school, and he said: "Yo! Come on dude. Let's do it! I'm going to beat you up!" I said: "I'm not fighting you. I just don't want to fight. I have nothing to fight you about and you're going to kick my ass! What's the point?" He ended up punching me anyway. He was really strong and much bigger than me, and he punched me into a garbage can. I literally fell head first into a garbage can and had to get out of it by myself.
How old were you?
Fifth or sixth grade.
Growing up in Roosevelt Island was awesome. It was really interesting living there because at the time it was only 3,000 people on the island. It was a tiny suburb where everybody knew each other and we had a crap ton of abandoned structures on the island. Also, there are secrets on the island that you were able to discover. For example, the island used to be a prison. As part of the security system of the prison, they had these underground tunnels that circumnavigated the entire island, which they closed down. But you could still access it if you know how to get to it.
There were aqueducts underneath the island that you could also get access to. There was a nine-story building that was called Nurse’s Residence. That's where Typhoid Mary died on Roosevelt Island - inside the Nurse’s Residence. It was a city block wide and long. That was the big thing as a kid. You break into there, explore and there would be crazy shit you'd see.
What kind of stuff would you see?
There was once a sniper in that building that shot people that were playing soccer. You could still go to the room that the sniper used to hang out. His mattress and newspaper clippings were still there. Underneath, in the sub basement, there was one room that was inexplicably filled with water. But the room on the other side of it was not filled with water. There was one thing where you'd go down into the sub sub- basement. And this was the scariest shit ever.
There was this long hallway that looked like it was going to continue forever. At about one or two hundred feet down the hallway, there was a brick wall that was obviously hand built by somebody that stopped people from going any further past the brick wall. Because it was all built up. But it was very shoddily constructed. There were a couple of bricks missing. I remember, once, my friends and I broke in there. You get on top of each other, you look through the little hole, and through that hole you could see the thing continue. There was all this rusty medical equipment. It looked like somebody had been living there because there was one light bulb on a string. It was still swinging there.
Do you have siblings?
I have a younger brother and a younger sister.
What do your parents think about what you do?
My dad passed away. My mom understood very well back in the day.
I’m sorry about your dad.
It's not your fault. It’s cool. My mom understood when I was a lawyer, doesn't understand at all what my current job is. She doesn’t even know the name of the company that I work for.
What’s your idea of happiness?
That is a good question. The short answer to that is being surrounded by friends, eating and drinking. That’s the time when I think I’m the most happy in my life.
What is difficult?
Difficult is stepping outside of myself and trying to see stuff from other people’s [perspectives].
What are your thoughts on the idea of loneliness in New York?
I think New York is the loneliest city in the world in spite of so many people and streets.
I think being lonely is something you do to yourself. I think I'm still learning myself how to be alone and not lonely.
What’s offensive to you?
Offensive is accepting everything that's given to me, not having belief or drive or whatever the fuck you want to call it to actually get more.
What are you looking forward to?
Looking forward to the apocalypse. No, I'm serious. I want it to happen more than I believe it's going to happen.
Because I think that it would be the most fun if society collapsed and we got to start again.
This is a bad but awesome analogy: 9/11. To see how people bonded together, and were so helpful to each other was inspiring. You go into the bodega, you don't have extra money, they got you. It's amazing the horrible tragedy like that brings people together. A more massive breakdown of society, I think, will force people to become more cooperative, more friendly, and more creative - without any laws or rules, you know what I mean?
Occupy Wall Street? Sure, why not, you know? You're not getting kicked out of there after the apocalypse. I also have an awesome post-apocalypse plan.
What’s your plan?
I can't tell you what my plan is. All you need to know is that the plot line details of it is: I know how to make mead, and I’ll open the first post-apocalyptic bar.
Because I figured that in the apocalypse, chances are, people are gonna murder the fuck out of each other. Not everybody but some people.
Eventually, you're gonna run out of liquors. Dudes that know how to make liquor, and have bars that serve liquor to people, are gonna be the most safe people in the world because shit's gonna be so shitty that you're gonna need a drink. Maybe you'll rob him but you’re not gonna kill him.
What would be your ideal apocalypse? How big does it have to be?
See, if I answer it 100 percent truthfully, I'm the most horrible person on earth. I don't want everybody to die…if you had a few super massive earthquakes, and our government completely collapsed - like worldwide shit went crazy – that would be enough for me. Alien invasion? Hell yeah, that would bond everybody.
I think a lot of the political problems we have had here is because people simply refuse to accept other people's beliefs being opposite of what theirs are.
If there was nobody winning an election, and nobody could make those rules, I think people would probably associate more naturally like they do on the Internet, which is based around value systems. So people that believe certain things will set up their own little pockets in places, and everybody would be really happy, ideally.
Can you elaborate on your eating habits?
I try to eat out as little as possible - unless it's going to be super delicious or different. I haven't eaten fast food except for Chic-Fil-A and Arby's, because you can't get those shits anywhere
Cooking, for me, is like zen meditation. I don't even like cooking with music sometimes. It's like repetitive motions, and I don't even like tasting the stuff I'm cooking. I'm lucky in that I've been cooking for so long I know now more or less what stuff works ; I have someone else taste it. They always tell you you're supposed to taste it, but I always just put everything in and then I'll taste it afterwards.
I think you need to taste it if you're like beginning-level cook.
You’re running a satanic burger truck.
I think it’s really funny how polarizing it is. Part of that is wanting to get people’s attention. It’s not a straight connection, but I think it’s close enough. I mean, you are killing something and eating its flesh.
What are your specialty dishes?
I perfected the hamburger, which is why I opened up 666 Burger. I think that the simplest foods are the most difficult ones to cook right.
Why do you think that is?
To make rice, for example, you have to have super magic skills because it will taste like everything else.
People will have a vague idea of what a hamburger is supposed to taste like, so to go notches and notches I think is really difficult. You're dealing with a really basic ingredient. When I go to Chinese places, I like having their fried rice first. It's a simple enough dish, but if they can do that with skill - and make it really pop - then everything else is gravy. I think for American foods, the hamburger is one of those things. If you care enough to make it super delicious and next level, everything else you are going to serve is probably going to be good, at the very least.
What’s the key to making a good hamburger?
That's another thing about cooking. You can give people a recipe and show them exactly the amounts down to the micro gram, cook right alongside them, and you will come up with two completely different dishes. There is some sort of magic x-factor in cooking. I haven't figured out what will make stuff completely different. That's why I never [say:] "It's a secret recipe." It's not a fuckin' secret recipe. Go make it. It’s gonna taste different than mine.
I don't buy meat anymore from supermarkets in general. I go to either butcher shops or I buy from smaller farmers or CSAs where I know where the meat is coming from. Because my number one goal is to eat the most delicious meat possible. I want to have the best. That's my bottom line. It just so happens that treating animals right, and raising them the right way, produces more delicious meat. The reason why I don't buy shit from the super market is their beef doesn't taste like beef. It tastes like what someone imagined beef should taste like. The same thing with chicken. Insipid people are like: "It tastes like chicken." That means it doesn't really have a flavor.
I think New York's been coasting by on its reputation from like the '70s, '80s and early '90s since that period ended.
Do you ever see yourself leaving?
Yes, but never permanently. This is now so much a part of my blood, having seen dirty New York. Even though it is clean and it makes me angry, I'm still finding new things to explore that are awesome and remind me of old New York.
Where would you want to live if you didn’t live in New York?
The only other city where I felt comfortable as New York was in Amsterdam, not in the red light district but further out by the canals. There is a lot of creativity. People are super friendly and there is a lot of shit to explore, and just madness there. It’s a much smaller city than New York, but it’s the only [place where] I felt super comfortable.
Tell me about “dirty” New York.
One of my fondest memories coming back to the city and getting off the Port Authority bus [was] stepping outside, and being served by pimps, shoe shines, [and] pornography. Because it was the summer, that odor was [a] general feeling [that] smelled dangerous.
My boy from high school used to [live] on the edge. It must be that stage, either seventh or sixth, eighth [grade]. His mom got an apartment there in the corner, and I remember being there in Square Park riots.
We were on his roof drinking 40s, watching the police tanks come through like a vector speedboat, motherfuckers throwing fire like molecule cocktails at the police tanks. Shit like that was an awesome New York memory. The weed shops that were the front business were also super awesome. There was a place. It was either 7th or 9th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues. It was a reggae store.
They literally had four LPs and some old shirts, and that was it in the store. They had a special business card [that] they made you pass them. Go in the back with a brown paper bag [for] some skunk weed [with] hella seeds.
There was another storefront that I remember. There was a specific item that you had to purchase, that was hard to get to. If you gave them that, they would give you marijuana.
New York gngs were all…it sucked as a kid because you'd be running from them all the time. Like the Nazi Skin gangs, the Decepticons, which were more thuggy. They’d come by to schools to rob shit from you.
How could you tell who they were?
Motherfuckers had their colors.
I remember going to hardcore shows back in the day, too. They'd be wearing the specific laces on their shoes. I remember different colored laces meant different shit.
That was old New York. It was so many different scenes that weren't interrelated. That was awesome – going to hardcore shows, raves. It was so many different people from everywhere going to the super clubs and hanging out, getting drunk with trannies at like 5 in the morning.
Where do you think that New York has escaped to?
I think it lives a little bit in Brooklyn and Queens: the Nonsense list and Gemini and Scorpio try to keep it alive in some ways, but there was an energy, a freedom, that I don’t think exists anymore. People were struggling. There were a lot of opportunities, a lot less rules. I remember going to parties in abandoned subway tunnels. You’d never be able to do that again in New York [after] 9/11.
I remember it didn’t matter if you were on the guestlist. It didn’t matter how much money you had. What mattered was you’d come to the front of the line of that entrance. Everybody was crowded around. There was no line and the doorman would look at you, and [if] you looked fresh you would be allowed in. Sometimes there is one “un-fresh” looking person and five “freshies,” [and you’d be let in].
It’s not about money. Come dressed right next time. Bring the party.